Game Talks is our unique programme of talks and events featuring industry guests.
Game Talks is for industry professionals, recent graduates and those studying games-related subjects—improve your knowledge and employability, be inspired and network.
In 2024, you can expect fantastic speakers exploring a range of roles in the industry, exciting fringe events including opportunities to network for real career advice as well as a program of workshops.
This year our programme of Game Talks events will be taking place at the Jubilee Centre, which is a short walk from the Broadway Shopping Centre and Bradford city centre.
Jubilee Centre, Jermyn Street Bradford, BD1 4EJ
Alex is a video game producer who has been working in the games industry across various roles for the past eight years.
Starting as a volunteer at gaming expos like Insomnia Gaming Festival and EGX, he networked and collaborated with a range of indie developers and publishers across the world which helped forge his path through to his current role as Producer at Radical Forge.
Founder, Newfangled Games
Paper Prototyping: Mechanic-driven design in Paper Trail
In this talk Henry discusses the design principles of award-winning game Paper Trail, with a focus on mechanic-driven design.
Multi-award-winning game developer and BAFTA Breakthrough Brit. After leading on the Microsoft-published, BAFTA-winning game Mush, Henry co-founded Mudvark and created the million-plus-downloaded game Mortar Melon.
His follow-up game Hue won over 25 industry awards, successfully releasing on console, mobile and PC. Following the acquisition of that studio, he has since founded Newfangled Games and is working on indie puzzle game Paper Trail, already winning over 30 accolades including ‘Game of the Year’ at Reboot Develop, ‘Best International Game’ at SXSW Sydney and ‘Best Family Game’ at the Gamescom Awards.
Narrative Designer, Square Enix
From Education to AAA: A roadmap into games
Unsure about how to get into games after education? Join Rhianne Murphy to discuss her journey from graduation to games and what steps you can take to break into the industry.
Rhianne Murphy has over seven years of experience working as a level and narrative designer in the UK AAA game development scene. She graduated in 2016, specialising in Game Design and Technology, and has worked in both development (Sumo Digital) and publishing (Square-Enix).
Lead Level Designer, VOID Interactive
Level up your level design
Sean is an experienced Lead Level Designer currently at VOID Interactive, with over eight years of professional experience in the video games industry. His talk will focus on how Level Designers can enhance their design blockouts, while teaching the fundamentals and showcasing techniques, before discussing efficiency and the importance of good communication—with examples from previous projects and previous teams.
Sean has a background working in both AAA and indie game studios in the design department, including Rocksteady Ltd, nDreams and others, as well as working in Environment Art and Architectural Visualisation roles earlier in his career. Having worked on previous titles, such as Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Fracked, Battalion 1944 and others, he is currently the Lead Level Designer at VOID Interactive, working on the newly released FPS title Ready or Not.
Lead Artist, Sad Owl Studios
Photos, plants and cats: Behind the art of Viewfinder
Sophie Knowles is a 3D generalist and currently the Lead Artist at Sad Owl Studio, the studio behind Viewfinder.
As a generalist she's dabbled in most art-related things, from illustration to modelling and animation. Other titles she's worked on include Avo!, The Bradwell Conspiracy and Off Grid.
Senior Writer, Larian Studios
Writing with Character: Lenses for crafting compelling NPCs
Adrienne Law is a Senior Writer at Larian Studios, an independent developer dedicated to pushing the boundaries of storytelling and player freedom. Most recently, Larian launched Baldur's Gate 3 for PC, PS5 and Xbox, which went on to win Game of the Year at The Game Awards in 2023.
Prior to joining Larian, Adrienne was a writer and narrative designer on Interior/Night's interactive drama As Dusk Falls, and at ustwo Games she was the producer of Monument Valley 2, and the producer and writer of Assemble with Care.
Technical Animator, Radical Forge
Video Games Animation 101: Southfield Edition
For nearly eight years Peter has been working in games animation after graduating from Teesside University in 2017. They’ve worked across the industry in various capacities from a Freelance Animator to their current role of Technical Animator at Radical Forge. They’ve worked the breadth of the animation pipeline, working on such titles as Bright Paw, Cocomelon Play with JJ, Orbeats VR, and the upcoming game, Southfield.
Peter will be guiding us through the animation pipeline and demonstrating how it connects across each discipline within a single production. Starting from the development of character design alongside artists, the push and pull with designers on how we animate characters, and the implementation of those animations into a game.
Actor, Baldur's Gate 3, The Excavation of Hob's Barrow
Please note, passholders can add a ticket to this event at no additional cost when they purchase a festival pass. This event is otherwise ticketed separately.
This year we’re honoured to be welcoming one of 2023’s stand-out performers in video games to the festival as Samantha Béart joins us for an in-conversation event and Q&A.
A classically trained actor with a career spanning nearly two decades, their recent performance as the fiery companion Karlach in Baldur's Gate 3 has been met with both cultural and critical acclaim. They have recently been DICE Award in the Outstanding Achievement in Character category and have twice been longlisted for a BAFTA Games Award for Performer in a Leading Role, most recently for Karlach in 2023 and as Thomasina in The Excavation of Hob's Barrow in 2022. They also became a ‘BAFTA Breakthrough’ in 2023 as the first of their class to be based on a performance in a game.
Sam also is the creator and host of It Takes a Village, a project which aims to celebrate games industry professionals and all-round talented humans and learn a bit more about the people who make our favourite games.
Their extensive career also includes Random in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Calliope in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman and Orr in Torchwood. Their other game roles include Demon's Souls (2020) and Bithell Games' The Solitaire Conspiracy.
We’re excited to sit down with Sam and explore their journey of becoming these characters and exploring the world of performance in video games and beyond.
In 2024 Yorkshire Games Festival will be running free workshops to help you get more hands-on experience from industry professionals. This year our workshops will be running alongside Game Talks in the nearby De Lacy Centre in the grounds of Bradford Cathedral—just a short walk from our Game Talks venue.
Shapes in character design
With Lucy Kyriakidou, art director and character designer
This workshop will allow you to follow along the character design process with a set brief. Starting out with initial sketches and then onto shape language, before going into adding detail and finally touching on the topic of colour.
Managing a successful freelance career, Lucy's art has helped bring a number of games to life, from small indie games to more recently Disney's Illusion Island, where she got to reimagine her fashion idol, Minnie Mouse. While she has found a new adventure in art direction, character design is her first and forever love and she is very proud of her 2020 Game Dev Heroes award in the Art & Animation category.
With over a decade's experience in the games industry, Lucy is an advocate for its improvement and is often found talking about diversity in the industry itself as well as the characters in the games we create.
A Step Into the World of Concept Art
With Mel Cummings and Jensen Chung, freelance concept artists
Join concept artists Jensen and Mel as they break down some of the ins and outs of concept art. Learn about their concept art process, what makes a strong design portfolio and how to be industry ready. You'll take what you've learnt and spend some time creating your own concept art based on a fun brief.
Mel was originally pursuing a career as a transport designer, but after a revelation in the university library, her eyes were opened to the world of concept art. Now working as a freelance concept artist specialising in vehicles, props and hard surface objects, she has worked on a wide range of titles including Apex Legends and Marvel's Secret Invasion.
Jensen has a background in illustration and graphic design. However, after being incredibly inspired by digital painting for entertainment art when he graduated, he pivoted his career trajectory into games. He now works full time as a games artist, combining his love of character design and illustration.